Dixie Peach: April 2007

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Oh the Dottiness of It All

I'm tired. Too busy, too little sleep. My motivation to do more than what is absolutely necessary is zero but that's probably fine since I have so much shit I have to do that what is optional doesn't even get considered.

What do I have to do? Write a blog entry. What's optional? Making all tidy with well constructed, well though out paragraphs. You're getting a bulleted list, folks.
  • See while riding the escalator up to the parking deck at the grocery store: A guy coming down the escalator sporting one bad, bad mullet, a raggedy mustache and much too much denim. Accompanying him was what had to be his mother. I wanted desperately to jump the rail, grab the woman by the shoulders, shake her and say "Please! Tell him to get a decent haircut, lose the mustache and get some better clothes. If not for the world at large, do it for yourself. He will never leave home if he keeps going through life looking like that! You're going to have to wash his scroungy underpants for the rest of your life because you're never going to get him married off and out of your house as long as he's looking like that. He will be staying in Hotel Mama forever. Save yourself!"
  • Seen not twenty seconds later after getting off the escalator: A man who had to be well in his 70s sporting a pair of shorts. Magnum PI shorts. Verging on Daisy Duke shorts. These were some short ass shorts. But damn if that old guy didn't have some boss looking legs.
  • If my dog doesn't stop picking up filthy paper from the streets and sidewalk and eating it only to get back home and barf it back up on my carpet, someone's going to take a beating. And I'm afraid it's going to be me.
  • Proof of my genius: The passenger side window in my car hasn't worked in a couple months. During the winter it wasn't a major concern but now that warm weather is here and my car's air conditioner is a 2-55...two windows down at fifty-five kph...I needed to see about getting it fixed. I was afraid that the motor for the window was shot but held out hope that it was an electrical problem - bad fuse or a short in the wiring or something - that could be easily fixed. Yesterday I drove the car over to a friend of the family's to see if he could fix the problem before taking in to the shop for an expensive repair job. Regardless that the car has only just over 18,000 kilometers on it, it's 11 years old and I don't want to sink a lot of money into repairs. And the problem? The child safety button had been inadvertently pushed, disabling the window. You know I can change a flat tire by myself. I can change the oil in a car. Check the fluids. I hate feeling like Miss Mary Doesn't Know Shit About Technical Things because I didn't think about the child safety switch. I didn't even realize there was one in my car. My last car was a ragtop Jeep Wrangler. The windows in that thing operated by zipper.
  • I've been jonesing for coconut all day. Right about now I'd whip some butt to get a Mounds bar.
Look at you. Survived another bulleted list. I'm so proud of you! Just for that you're excused from knitting talk tomorrow. Mostly because I haven't had time to finish any knitting.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Indoor Plumbing Edition

I just came in from walking Bonnie for the last time today. There's a lawn in front of an apartment building across the street where I take her when it's after dark so she can piddle on the grass. We're in a drought so that lawn could take all the water it can get.

To take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather we're having the Nashville Saloon has a few tables outdoors. Al fresco dining is big here when it's warm. As I was passing the alley way that leads to the restaurant a guy came out, passed by me, went into the sparse shrubs that are adjacent to the bit of lawn I was headed for and proceeded to take a wee on the one large tree that's in with the shrubbery. It was at that moment that Bonnie also decided to stop and empty her bladder so as I waited for her I could hear this guy behind me not ten feet away peeing so hard I thought he was removing bark from the tree.

Now I know the Nashville Saloon is practically a parody of American Southern culture but damn. I feel fairly certain that their representation of the American South doesn't include the idea that we Southerners only have outhouses at our disposal. We've had indoor bathrooms for quite a long time now, thank you, and I know for certain this restaurant has a men's toilet.

I wanted so bad to turn around and say "If you'd just waited a bit longer I'd have taken you for a walk too.".

I need to scratch that memory from my mind's eye. Bixente, the iPod, let's shuffle.
  1. Naive - The Kooks
  2. Look Through Any Window - The Hollies
  3. Gotta Be A Sin - Adam Ant
  4. Amanda - Don Williams
  5. Come Dancing - The Kinks
  6. Hang Fire - Rolling Stones
  7. Run Runaway - Slade
  8. Supersonic - Oasis
  9. Melatonin - Silversun Pickups
  10. I'm The Man Who Murdered Love - XTC
Enjoy your weekend. And be sure to do the inside stuff inside.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Joy Unending

I'm sitting here and trying to decide which part of my day was my absolute favorite. It's not often that I get so many to choose from in a mere fourteen hour period.

There was the part when, while attempting to rinse out the shampoo from my hair, the hot water suddenly cut out. Oh the song of joy I sang at that moment!

It put me in a state of bliss when I drove halfway to the grocery store before realizing that I'd forgotten the deposit bottles I needed to return. I moved on to Nirvana when I started out again, this time getting all the way to the grocery store and then realizing I'd left my purse at home! Whee!

Hey, it could have been when I got home with my groceries, got them all dragged into the elevator and at the last minute had my crazy old woman neighbor from the fourth floor join me for the ride up. I should mention that my happiness was only enhanced by the fact that this particular woman always smells like a combination of stale urine, mildew and general sweaty body funk and it leaves a lingering fog that rivals anything that any Axis of Evil state could even contemplate developing. What fun it is to be trapped with this pleasant woman in an enclosed space while I try desperately not to go into a flurry of dry heaves.

Perhaps it was the five times my dog, Bonnie, thew up on the carpet after she ate or drank too fast. Always on the carpet, not on the flooring in the entry or the kitchen. And one time it nearly landed on our doctor's feet! What fun!

Oh! Oh! Maybe it was the part when Bonnie was taking a crap and it got stuck and she walked around and around and around in hunched down crap position. Like five minutes worth of hunched down in crap position walking. Did I mention the tour bus load of folks walking by to re-board their bus and watching the performance? Such pride I had at that moment.

And since Bonnie has tried so hard to make my day one of roses and jelly beans and rainbows and tiny fuzzy yellow ducks, she decided to yank away from me and slip her head out of her collar and make a run for it. She, of course, waited until the just right moment when I would enjoy it the most - when under my arm was a pile of newspaper I wanted to throw in the recycling bin and in one had was the plastic bag of poop that I was able to retrieve after it finally cut loose.

Gosh oh golly, I was the picture of contentment when I raked my knuckles over the blade of the pizza cutter as I was reaching for the can opener. Such fun! And it was compounded when I opened a can of tomatoes and it spritzed on my new white tee-shirt! Such glee!

Maybe my very favorite moment of the day was when I finally had thirty minutes free to rest and just as I was drifting off to sleep the phone rang. It was Aunt Annoying! Yay! Aunt Annoying was calling to see if my MIL had called us from her vacation at a spa on the Baltic Sea and if she's having fun. Oh ho, Aunt Annoying! My MIL may be having fun, but she couldn't possibly rival the absolute festival of giddiness that's going on around here!

Good times, people. Good times.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So Nice I Did it Twice

Okay, remember the whole blogging interview thing from last week? I interviewed Hilda who in turn interviewed Poppy (Are you reading their blogs? If not, why not?) and being as I'm a terrible smart aleck and am lacking in blogging inspiration this week I said "I wish someone would interview me again." - and so Poppy did. Danke, Poppy!

Round two:

1. You have a mere four hours in Memphis. How do you spend it?

First, your butt had better be there, Poppy and bring PKB and the Barefooted One as well. Four things are on the agenda:

a. We go to Corky's and indulge in Piggy Prozac.

b. We go find a yarn shop and bliss out in there for a while.

c. We go find an enormous display of lipstick and bliss out there for a while.

d. We'd go find some cream horns for PKB. 'Cause PKB loves cream horns.

Now I understand that this can be done in virtually any city, with the exceptions of going to Corky's, but if I were with y'all that's what I'd want to do. Pork barbecue, yarn, lipstick, cream horns, darling friends. Perfect four hours.

If I were alone for the four hours I'd probably go to the Pink Palace and groove in there. And make a quick dash into Corky's for a pulled pork sandwich.

2. How did Lottie the Sock Monkey come into your life?

I wrote a blog entry about it not very long after I got Lottie. Here's the part where I actually acquired Lottie:

When I was in the US last fall I decided that I must buy a sock monkey. I looked at a few places but didn't find one and my sister, who surprisingly didn't think I was completely bats for wanting a sock monkey, suggested we'd find one at the gift shop of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, the closest to my hometown being a good 45 minutes away in Tupelo. We made plans to drive down there for breakfast the following morning and snag one.

Evidently I was destined to go home with a sock monkey because there was one waiting for me - the last one in stock, as a matter of fact. Price was no object and by the time I was grazing on grits and buttermilk biscuits I had a sock monkey in a little brown sack at my side.

As I didn't want a nekkid sock monkey we set off to get some sock monkey sized clothes as Toys R Us. It was tough to find a dress for her that didn't have ducks or other babyish print on it but I did succeed in getting her a brown and red plaid dress. Sorta matches her skin and everything.

Note that I referred to her as...well...a her. I can't say that her gender just jumped out at me because let's be real. It's a sock monkey. It's whatever you want it to be. And mine got to be a girl because of one simple reason. It's easier to deal with a monkey tail in a dress than in a pair of teeny pants.

Now all she needed was a name. I liked Sophie but my sister insisted that my sock monkey would be a German sock monkey. Right. Sewed in Ohio and bought in Mississippi. I can see where the German part jumped out at her. Okay, so on to German names. I ran through my repetoir of German names until came across the name of B's great-grandmother, Charlotte. And thus she became Lottie.

Lottie has since then spent a summer with PKB, a visit where she was able to meet Poppy in person, and courtesty of PKB, Lottie now has a pair of teeny pants.

3. Favorite German food?

Currywurst. For the uninitiated, currywurst is a roasted bratwurst, usually, but not always, cut into slices (makes eating while standing at a currywurst stand easier) and doused with a ketchup based sauce seasoned with curry with more curry sprinkled on top. Often served with fries which are great when dipped in the sauce. Nutritionally it's a disaster but it's fabulously tasty.

I also like a good ol' roasted Thüringer Rostbratwurst. In my opinion the best bratwurst in Germany are the Thüringer style ones. Fabulous hot off the grill after they've been there roasting until they become a little blackened and the casing is all split and crispy. I eat mine with ketchup by my husband doesn't hold it against me.

4. Everyone always focuses on the negatives of physical disabilities. What are some of the good things that have come about because of your husband's limitations that might not have happened if he wasn't paralyzed?

Selfishly the best thing for me is that I can spend all day with him. I think it also gave him the opportunity to learn about computers back when personal computers were a new thing - had he stayed uninjured then perhaps he wouldn't have had the time to learn what has been able to learn over the years. I think it's given us both more patience and a great appreciation of the little things that can make you very content.

I just asked B the same question and he answered "I met you.". All together now: Awwwwwwww!!

5. You have an unlimited yarn budget. What's the first thing you buy?

Oooo. Wouldn't that be a dream come true? I know that I'd head right on over to Posh Yarn and get some of that incredibly decadent hand-dyed cashmere sock weight yarn. I don't know if I could bear the thought of my feet being in cashmere socks or the feeling of knitting 100% cashmere, but I'd love to try.

Is there anyone that I didn't interview the first time around who'd like to be interviewed this time? Speak up and I'll do it!

Here's the interview guidelines: Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” I will respond by asking you five questions in the comments here on this post so check back here. I get to pick the questions. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Not the Norm

Unlike most weekends where I spend my free time knitting - a pursuit stereotypically belonging to cookie baking, gray haired grandmothers - I spent my time playing Sacred - a pursuit stereotypically belonging to fifteen year old boys living with their moms, subsisting on diets of Doritos, pizza and Coke and who dream of one day getting laid or 30 year old men living with their moms, subsisting on diets of Doritos, pizza and Diet Coke and who have given up their dream of ever getting laid.

Dude, I made 100 levels and my vampire is so ass kicking! I was smoking those poison trolls and the Shaddar'Rim! And my armor set is awesome!!

I opted to forgo the Doritos and pizza and went instead with kiwi and bananas. I ain't chancing getting too close to the stereotype.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Leftover Bits Edition

It's been a rather uneventful week in my home and so I don't have much to write about except for a few bits of this and that. One bulleted list, coming up!

  • I haven't mentioned the gun massacre at Virginia Tech this week but not because it hasn't been thrown in my face every day since Monday. Like everyone, I'm sickened and sad and frustrated over it. Like everyone, I wonder how we'll ever stop such things from happening. I want to have strict gun laws but we've got them in Germany and it didn't stop a kid five years ago from shooting up a high school. And lack of a gun didn't stop a kid in Berlin from walking through a crowd in Berlin and randomly stabbing people. What I wish was that the mentally ill could be given treatment without a lot of hassle and a lot of shame and that those who are so mentally ill that they pose a threat to themselves and others could be found and treated more quickly so they and us could be protected. I don't have the answers but I can't help but think that if we can stand in one spot and push a button and destroy a place many miles away we could find a way to protect ourselves from people right next to us who plot to hurt us. Then again what sounds good in words is often a lot harder in reality.
  • Darling Mollie graduated from Virginia Tech. I have always teased her a bit about it because my sister went to the University of Virginia and I grew up loving the Wahoos but I'll never tease her about it again. She's proud to have gone to Virginia Tech. Mollie's in Europe now visiting her brother and his family and I haven't been able to speak to her about this whole thing but I know she's heartsick over it. I could never in good conscience pick at her again about being a Hokie. When I first heard about the shootings my first thoughts were of her and other friends of mine who went to Virginia Tech. No one wants to have a place that they hold close in their hearts tainted by such a horrible incident. No one wants their alma mater to be mentioned and the first thought that pops into anyone's mind is that it was where a massacre took place.
  • While walking the dog for the last time this evening I walked by the Nashville Saloon and it was empty. The downstairs part anyway - I couldn't see well upstairs where the "line dance bar" is located. Granted it was after 9:30pm and that's a bit late for folks to be gorging on cheeseburgers, chili and ribs but I get worried when I see restaurants empty. If they go out of business before I have a chance to go in there I'm going to be mighty disappointed.
  • I really enjoyed the interview thing from a couple days ago. I like thinking up questions - probably because I can be incredibly nosy at times and I like answering questions myself - and I've enjoyed getting a glimpse into the lives of folks I've met through my blog. It somehow helps me see folks as whole people and not just words on my monitor. I hope we can all do better at seeing people as whole beings. I'm afraid that while our ability to easily reach and communicate with others around the world makes our world smaller, it also can make us more isolated if we don't see past words. I fear for us becoming more dehumanized and more disconnected from each other because we're not interacting with one another in a more tangible way and that disconnect will make some of us more callous. People become characters, no more real to us than images we see in films.
  • Cleverest idea I've seen this week: On a news program I saw a story about a "Walking Bus". Often children in Germany walk to school or take public transportation to get to school. School buses do exist but they're not as common as one would find in the US. The idea of the Walking Bus sounded great to me. Adults, often parents volunteering for a rotating schedule, will gather school children in an area and walk them to school - in some cases it's a long walk. Everyone is outfitted with reflector vests for safety and the kids get in groups or two or three with one adult per six or seven kids and everyone walks to school. The parents don't have to drive their kids to school, thereby saving them time and gas, the kids get exercise and have that time to chat and get a little excess energy out before school starts and parents don't have to worry about kids being unaccompanied and vulnerable to goodness only knows what. The teachers say the kids start their school day in a calmer way because they've already had their social time with their school friends, the kids get used to walking and the importance of daily exercise and the parents don't have to take time to either walk or drive their children to school. It sounded like a good, economical way to get kids to school in a safe manner.
The weekend in our home has no concrete plans beyond watching soccer on Saturday, knitting on my still-super-secret project and long walks with my dog. Maybe I'll even go crazy and do some laundry.

Let's shuffle.
  1. Spanish Harlem - Aretha Franklin
  2. I Am The Walrus - The Beatles
  3. Frauen Regier'n Die Welt - Roger Cicero
  4. Love You More - Buzzcocks
  5. Dakota - Stereophonics
  6. She's So High - Blur
  7. What To Do - OK Go
  8. Mama Told Me (Not To Come) - Tom Jones & Stereophonics
  9. El Paso - Marty Robbins
  10. Getting In Tune - The Who
Dig on your weekend the mostest.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday Haiku

It's three lines. It's a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. It's my Thursday.

Girl doctor today
Hairdresser this afternoon
Both ends are now fine.

Hey! No stirrups here!
Legs held underneath the knees
Not cold on your feet.

That speculum though
Always icy, icy cold
Must be straight from fridge.

Back in my old 'hood
That's where the hairdresser is
Very creepy there.

Just looks all slummy
Run down, tired and shabby
No regrets I moved.

Read a lot today
Get fidgety in the chair
The waiting is dull.

Six weeks and six months
Two new appointments are made
Then more of the same.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Interview

Sheila offered and I took her up on it. She offered to ask me five questions and I'd answer them here for y'all to see. Her boyfriend is also a quadriplegic so it stands to reason that some of the questions pertain to that topic.

Read and learn, folks. There may be a pop quiz later.

1. How would your life be different if B would of never of been injured? (How was B injured, anyhow?)

Wow. I reckon everything would be different, wouldn't it? I met him many years after his accident (while he was in the army he fell into a swimming pool in one meter of water and landed on his head) so it's possible that I never would have met him had he been healthy (he and I refer to his non-spinal cord injury status as him being "healthy" although technically he's not unhealthy but instead has a permanent's just easier though to say "healthy"). However if all were the same except for him not being a quadriplegic I imagine we'd have kids, travel more, maybe even live in America. I think the closeness of our relationship would be the same but a spinal cord injury is so invasive in the life of the quadriplegic and those around him that I would say that virtually everything would be different.

2. If money weren't an issue, would you ever consider moving B, your mother-in-law and yourself back to the states? Along the same lines, if you all did move back to the states, where would you choose to live?

How much are we talking about when we're saying that money isn't an issue? Enough to pay for the sort of health insurance we require? That's the main reason we live in Germany. There is no way we could ever move to the US because there is no insurance company that would accept B. It's the reason why I most likely will always live in Germany - I have reliable health insurance here that I won't lose. I would have nothing in the way of health insurance if I moved back to the States.

However if we did move back to the US for whatever reason, I'm sure we'd live near my family in Mississippi. I like having family around.

3. Who taught you how to knit? How long ago? Have you ever wished you had learned a different hobby even though you enjoy knitting?

My mother first taught me how to knit and purl when I was around 10 years old. Just knit and purl. Couldn't cast on, couldn't bind off, couldn't make anything and stopped knitting completely until about 2 1/2 years ago when I bought a copy of Stitch 'n Bitch, bought some needles and some cheap yarn and taught myself the rest with the aid of the book. Knitting is certainly more fun when you can actually produce something.

I have learned other crafts - needlepoint, counted cross stitch, crewel - but I didn't take to them like I have knitting. It suits my need to be able to do it spur-of-the-moment because I never know when B will need to interrupt me and I like being able to make something other than wall hangings and pillow covers.

4. What is the one thing as a child / teenager you said you'd never do / say when you got older? Have you done / said it and thought, "Hm, I said I'd never do that."

When I was young I thought I'd never marry a man who wasn't a Southerner and I wouldn't live outside of the South. I wouldn't even date non-Southerners. The first time around I married a guy born in Mississippi and raised in Florida and Texas. Obviously him being Southern didn't help. Now, of course, I met and married not only a non-Southerner but a non-American and I certainly don't live in the South. I don't even live in southern Germany.

5. What is the one thing about B's injury that you knew about, but didn't truly understand until you had to deal with it in person?

I guess the thing I had explained to me but didn't really get until I had to help with it was the bathroom thing. I don't discuss this much at all because I don't like to compromise B's dignity but I wasn't sure how it would work until I saw in person how it would work. It doesn't involve diapers and it doesn't involve him ever spontaneously losing control of his bodily functions and that's all I'm really comfortable with saying about it except to add that it doesn't freak me out at all.

And Sheila has asked me a bonus question.

I was curious about how you go about getting B into his chair. I use a Hoyer lift for Tom, and it works wondrously well. (I can lift him by myself, with no Hoyer, if I absolutely have to, but prefer someone else with more confidence to do it.) Our Hoyer was provided for us through insurance. Along the same lines, is there an elevator in your building? How do you get B outside?

B is a tall man (or do you say "long" in you're unable to stand?) - he's 6'4". He's got these wildly long legs and it means that he doesn't fit in a lot of standard wheelchairs - they're simply too short for him. Here's his wheelchair:

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We used to have a Hoyer lift but it was more trouble than it was worth. First, B didn't like the feeling of being suspended in the lift - it freaked him out too much to have it swinging while getting him into position to lower him into the chair or into the bed. Second, it barely fit between the bed and his wheelchair and we struggled to get things into position. We finally gave up using it at all and after a few years when I accidentally stubbed my toe on it for the zillionth time we called the insurance company to tell them to take it away.

When we want to get B outside I have to rely on help. B's a foot taller than me and I simply cannot lift him high enough on my own to get him out of bed and over the arm and controls of his wheelchair. My MIL and I can lift him - I get him under his arms and she gets him under his knees and we pick him up and pull him over. We, however, try to get help from others. If it's a nice day and we want to go out we call friends who can come over and help me pick him up and get him in the chair. Some of the taller, stronger guys can pick him up on their own. If anyone helps me get B in his wheelchair, their drinks are on me for the day!

Sometimes there's no one available to help me get him out of bed and into his chair. Those are the days when we just stay indoors and appreciate having a nice home.

We do have an elevator in our building. Although our apartment isn't made specifically for a handicapped person we can still live in this building because the doorways are wide enough and B can get in and out of the elevator. My MIL's apartment also has an elevator but you have to take a half flight of stairs either up or down to reach the elevator so B's unable to go to her apartment.

Now it's your turn to play if you wish:

Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” I will respond by asking you five questions in the comments here on this post so check back here. I get to pick the questions. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Don't Be Afraid...It Won't Take Long

The Tuesday knitting talk, that is.

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Another pair of Jaywalker socks, this time they're for my friend, Karen. She's a DJ for a country radio station in Virginia. B loves to listen to her broadcast online. Completely in love with her voice.

I wonder if going into the Nashville Saloon and bragging that I am personal friends with not only a real live country radio DJ but a DJ who has met many, many big country music stars would get me free fries?

Anyway, since I only knit one other Jaywalker sock and thought this colorway would look good all zig-zaggy I started another pair. It's also pleasing me no end that the colors look much prettier knitted up than they appear on the skein. All bronze and caramel color with the cream white thrown in. It reminds me of that Brachs caramel candies you'd find in the black and orange waxy paper at Halloween time.

Over the weekend I also cast on and started a new non-sock project for another friend. It's still in the super secret stage so I'll say nothing more except to say that I've knit this pattern before and loved the result and thought the recipient needed the same for her. Ach! There I go, letting out a clue. Now you know it's for a her.

Mr. Fab? Haddock? Big Finn? I know you're crushed that it's not for you. Buck up, fellas!


Monday, April 16, 2007

Wonderfully Ordinary

Anyone who has lived in Germany for more than one spring will tell you that April is not a month one can count on for good weather. You may have some good weather but it won't last more than a few hours. If April weather in Germany were a woman she'd be a 50 year old in the throes of menopause - sunny and pleasant one moment, rainy and cold the next and bitchily moody all the time. So when we get a bit of warm, sunny weather that last longer than Britney Spears in rehab, we revel in it. When it happen on a weekend we practically declare it a holiday.

I wanted to get B outdoors this weekend but unfortunately I couldn't scrounge anyone up to help me get him in his wheelchair. Disappointing, but it's early in the season and we'll have other good weather days to get him outdoors. Feeling bad that he couldn't get out with me on Saturday I limited my outdoor activity to a walk but on Sunday I was wanting to spend more time outside enjoying what could be the last bit of sunny weather until next week or until July - in Germany you never know. I gathered up my knitting - a sock I'm working on for my dear friend, Karen - and headed to the park.

I've knit in pubic before but this was one of the few times anyone has ever acknowledged it beyond looking over at me with a curious or amused expression. The first was an old lady accompanied by two friends pushing her in a wheelchair. As they passed my bench the lady in the wheelchair looked at me and said "I used to do that all the time but I never did it in public," and immediately one of the ladies with her commented "Doing it in the open is more fun but risky," and all three of the women burst out laughing at the double entendre. Cheeky old gals.

Later two young ladies who were likely from the university approached and one said "Is that fun to do? It looks fun.". I replied that it was and she asked me how she could learn it too. Not prepared to give a spontaneous knitting lesson I directed to my favorite local yarn shop that gives lessons. The one looked at her friend and said "Oh let's learn this! This looks fun to do! We'll go do it together.". I thought about warning her about the addictive nature of sock knitting but figured she'd learn it soon enough. I left soon afterwards with red skin from sitting in the sun, hair damp with sweat and another inch done on the sock's leg. Pictures tomorrow!

Today I joined my MIL and a few of her old lady friends at the street cafe across from my apartment building. I wanted another day in the sun and chocolate ice cream and I could take old ladies jabbering in order to accomplish that. As I sat there eating my ice cream and drinking my mineral water and feeling the sun lighting my hair afire I couldn't believe that it is mid-April and I was really outside in capri pants and a tee-shirt and sandals. It just felt wonderful to be enjoying every single thing about that moment. I don't lead the most exciting life - my days are filled with the ordinary - but if this moment was ordinary then I was hoping my remaining years on earth would be filled with them.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Make Your Own Luck Edition

I'm not much of a superstitious person. I do a few things like make sure there's salt in our kitchen at all times (in Germany it's believed to be bad luck to not have any salt at home) and I won't wish anyone happy birthday a day early but for the most part I don't follow along with superstitious ideas. And when it comes to Friday the 13th, I'm the sort of person who thinks it's just as likely as not that good things can happen on that date as much as bad things can happen.

Today definitely had a balance of bad and good things:

~ While at my MIL's today I saw a guy in a Bobcat digger equipment thingy up on the roof of a building being torn down, tearing off and throwing roofing shingles into a scrap container. When he was turning around the tread on one side came off the building, the Bobcat tipped over, the man fell into the scrap container and the Bobcat fell on top of him. Scared the daylights out of me. I sat in my car shaking like a junkie jonesing for a fix. The rescue squad and police and a fire truck showed up just a few minutes later and they took the man away and that was a good sign. If he'd been dead at the scene they wouldn't have whisked him away so quickly.

Later on the 2pm regional news they showed a story about the incident and said the man was alive but in serious condition. I hope he'll recover. All I could think when I was trying to calm down so I could drive home was that he probably had a family and they needed him to be alright again. That they were depending on him to be alright again. It reminded me how much families really do rely on each other and how the delicate balances in life can be interrupted in just the blink of an eye.

~ There's been good things too. The weather right now is incredible. Sunny, very warm, clear skies - definitely not April weather in Germany. More like June weather. I'm hoping to find someone to help me get B outside tomorrow. He normally never gets out in April but we like to take advantage of sunny, warm days. B hasn't been outside since the end of September and he's looking forward to seeing something besides our living room.

And remember the lost yarn? I found it! I was looking for the hose that I need to use to pump up the tires on B's electric wheelchair and while moving a bag of yarn that I know I've looked in at least twice before this week, I decided to look in again and I found it. The single sock shall have its twin soon. If it hadn't been gorgeous weather now then I wouldn't have been worried about pumping up the tires on B's wheelchair and wouldn't have looked for the pump hose and wouldn't have found the sock yarn.

~ Then there was the mix of good and bad. Early this evening B and I got into a fight over something we shouldn't have been fighting about. It just about negated any good that happened today. And somehow that disagreement, with all it's anger and disappointment and sadness and tears got B and I to talk in a way that we really haven't before. I was able to talk about stuff I had never talked to him about until now. Stuff I'd never told anyone before. I'm not good with telling things I've held inside for years because of how it makes me feel as thought I've left myself vulnerable to having it used against me but today I was able to do it anyway. I can't say I'll do it again but if I get tempted to then maybe I can remember back to this day when I opened myself up and made myself vulnerable and I survived.

Time to shuffle.
  1. The Angry Mob - Kaiser Chiefs
  2. Morning Star - Blackmore's Night
  3. Star Of The County Down - Van Morrison & The Chieftans
  4. Requiem For The Masses - The Association
  5. Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress) - The Hollies
  6. Candy's Room - Bruce Springsteen
  7. Tennessee Flat Top Box - Rosanne Cash
  8. Blue Orchid - White Stripes
  9. Jackknife To A Swan - Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  10. Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac
Enjoy your weekend - all the extremes and the middle ground too.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Single Twin

I try to be a woman of my word. When I say I'll do something, I do my best to do it. Except answer email. That takes about five promises from me to get me to do it.

I had every intention of finishing my latest sock creation today so I could show you a picture of it. I'd promised to keep knitting talk to Tuesdays. I'd promised to post a photo. The goals were set and all was on track until 1:30 this afternoon - my pre-determined knitting time - when the doorbell rang.

I normally despise unannounced visitors but this turned out to be a nice treat. My first German tutor - an American lady married to a German man and now living near Erfurt - happened to be in Magdeburg visiting her husband's family for the Easter holiday and since they were in my neighborhood shopping they decided to drop by.

Heather and I had lost touch since I'd moved to this apartment. I meant to send her our new address but when I went to send her a card I couldn't find her address. I kept hoping that I'd run into it sometime but as the months went by I didn't have any luck. Believe me, I looked for it. Heather finally figured out that I'd moved when the last card she sent me was returned to her and so when she and her husband were here at a post office they grabbed a phone book and found our new address. As luck would have it they were at the post office that's just a few blocks away from me so they took the chance that I'd be home and dropped by for a brief visit. As is par for the course my apartment wasn't in shape for visitors but we were so happy to connect with one another again it didn't matter. We had to cram in a lot of talk in a short amount of time so my knitting was put aside for the time being.

By the time Heather and her husband left my knitting time allotment was gone and I had to plunge into my other Tuesday duties and errands. But as I said, I try to be a woman of my word. I was determined to have a finished sock to show you today so I've spent the last couple hours furiously finishing the toe and grafting it closed. All to show you this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Now that's a bad ass sock. Look at that heel! That's the most perfect flap heel I've ever made. And the toe? Does that toe not kick some ass or what? When I'd started the sock I had some concerns that the colorway wouldn't be suitable for the Jaywalker socks pattern but just look at it! That colorway and that pattern could not compliment one another any better. I am simply in awe of my knitting genius. Or perhaps it's just knitting luck. In either case, that's one perfecto sock.

And unfortunately it seems destined to remain so. I mentioned last week that I can't find the other skein of yarn to make this sock's mate so perhaps this poor sock is destined to remain single. A solitary example of knitting joy when everything came together just right. Well, almost everything. There's a place on the sole where a couple stitches are wonky but it lends a bit of character to an otherwise gorgeous sock.

But this single sock shall not go unwanted and unloved. Ginnie gave me the yarn that produced it - Regia yarn that always knits up so lovely - and so this sock is going to Ginnie as a keepsake. She will love this sock as if it were a part of a pair even though it may be destined to remain unworn forever. Unworn but never unloved. If there's anyone who can appreciate a single sock, it's Ginnie. Ginnie finds joy and beauty in everything.

The other skein of yarn isn't lost forever. It can't be. I know I haven't thrown it out. That's my problem. I am terrible at throwing things out and things, needed or not, tend to get tucked away in whatever space I can find and therefore become very difficult to locate later on when they're needed.

When I find that other skein I'm going to knit it up to be just as perfect as today's creation, minus the wonky stitches on the sole, and I'll send it on to Ginnie as well and at last it'll be united with its earlier created twin. I'm gonna want to see a picture of them both on Ginnie's feet when that day comes.

What do you want to bet the misplaced skein of yarn is holed up somewhere with Heather's address?

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Obligitory Holiday Roundup

I'm sure I'm not actually obliged to tell y'all about my Easter holiday weekend but if I claim obligation then maybe I'm off the hook if it happens to disappoint. "I didn't want to write it! I knew nothing exciting happened! It was required of me!"

Some highlights:

~ Heard some achingly bad karaoke from the neighbor living below us. His rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit had a particularly fine my-balls-are-in-a-vice quality to it.

~ Since a holiday generally requires a lot of musical entertainment and not to be outdone by the ball-squoze karaoke singer, my neighbor living above us practiced her piano as often as possible. I suppose she believes Easter to be a more somber holiday and that's why every tune she played sounded like a dirge. A loud dirge. My favorite was when she began tickling those ivory keys at 11:00 yesterday. That would be 11:00 at night.

~ Two or three fist fights nearly broke out at my MIL's birthday celebration. You don't have to be the Amazing Kreskin to figure out that Aunt Annoying was at the center of all the conflicts. My personal favorite? When Aunt Annoying told my MIL's best friend - a lady who probably pushes 300 pounds - that she should see about losing weight and that weighing so much was bad for her. A suggestion given completely out of the blue. I thought my MIL was going to sink through the floor from embarrassment. I thought my MIL's friend was going to deliver an instant ass whipping.

~ B and I had what was probably the worst in terms of style and yet tastiest Easter dinner I've had in ages. Since B wasn't able to get over to her birthday celebration buffet supper she sent over with me for our supper some lightly breaded and fried pork fillet and Bouletten - sort of a cross between a hamburger and a meatball. And there was a lot of it. As B and I were too starved to wait for me to boil some potatoes and steam some green beans to go with it, I instead warmed up the meat, grabbed a loaf of whole grain bread, a jar of mustard and a bottle of ketchup and we sat in the living room and had a fried meat festival. We were merely inches away from spearing the meat off the platter, fork grasped in an overhand style, and gnawing off hunks with our teeth.

~ My MIL made us an Easter basket. That's love when you're on the back side of 40 and you're still getting an Easter basket.

~ Two seasons of Lost watched in three days. I didn't catch every episode but a lot of them. Most of them. It helped me knit faster.

After a brief hiatus, yarn talk is back tomorrow. With pictures. I know you'll want to pencil that in your Day Runner.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Pile o' Tissues Edition

It's days like today when I get a taste of what it must be like for a mother with a lot on her plate. I do know what it's like to always be responsible for someone's welfare and never really getting away from that responsibility - I'm the sole caregiver to my quadriplegic husband - but I think I get off easier than being the mother of a baby or toddler. Sure, I have to do almost everything for my husband and he's not going to outgrow quadriplegia so he's never going to become independent from me but unlike the mother of little ones, my husband can tell me what he wants, always cooperates with me, doesn't have to be forced to eat his green beans or take a nap and has never subjected me to watching the Teletubbies.

But days like today give me an idea of what it's like to be overly tired, sick, and have very little go right. Last night B had a very upset stomach and dealing with that kept me up until well after 4am. He woke me up a little after 8am with his stomach hurting him again and by the time I got him settled back down the girl living above us started practicing her piano. Getting up for the stomach thing and being awakened by the piano went on until noon when I finally dragged my carcass out of bed. I managed to get B to have some toast and tea and about that time the massive sneezing attacks started up with me along with weepy eyes and a headache that goes down to my neck. Even later when I tried to nap it was thwarted by my head and neck hurting and my endlessly dripping nose.

Right now my head feels like an overly inflated balloon, my eyes are burning, my nose is stuffed and itchy to the point where I wish I could shove my hands inside and scratch out whatever is making it itch.

And the tissues. I am drowning in a sea of tissues. I build up a pile on the sofa table and then when I can summon the energy to get up I take them all to the trash. The pile of tissues is rivaling the pile of dirty clothes I've got stashed away.

How do you moms do it? How to you manage to take care of sick kids when you're sick yourself? How do you keep going when you're exhausted? I can at least negotiate with my husband. I have a bare minimum I need to do for him and if I don't go beyond that for a day or two it's okay. I don't have to worry about him having a screaming fit or running around like a maniac. I have always said that I think moms of little ones have it harder than me and today I'm fully sticking to that opinion.

Bixente, the iPod has it easy. All he's got to do it be turned on shuffle for me. Let's go.
  1. Grace Kelly - Mika
  2. Don't Be Square (Be There) - Adam & The Ants
  3. Meds - Placebo
  4. I Started A Joke - Bee Gees
  5. Walking On Broken Glass - Annie Lennox
  6. Again - Lenny Kravitz
  7. Papa Loved Mama - Garth Brooks
  8. Lay Down (Candles In The Rain) - Melanie
  9. Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot
  10. Wrong 'Em Boyo - The Clash
Now my ears are popping. Bixente the iPod claims innocence.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thursday Haiku

You know, when you're low on events to write about, haiku helps. You can sum up your paltry day-to-day activities in the fantastic 5-7-5 syllable form and somehow make it look so much more interesting.

Wake up too early
Neighbor's kid plays piano
When's spring break over?

Can't find a basket
And no Easter grass either
I must improvise.

Brandy, chocolates,
Coffee and cigarettes too
Mother-in-law's treats

What Bunny brings her
Yeah, off-beat and unhealthy
S'Okay. She is old.

Man sits on corner
Plays accordion. He's good!
Put coins in his hat.

Must do spring cleaning
Thinking about starting soon
Must do, not just think.

Washed a load of clothes
Big pile shrinks down a little
One down, Ten to go.

Quiet weekend planned
Knitting! M*A*S*H on DVD!
Hope I find that yarn.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Copy Cat Dots

All day I've been thinking of what I could write about for you lovely, faithful readers and as the day went on I resigned myself to relying my fall back blogging topic: the always tidy but sometimes only marginally interesting bulleted list. This week has been a little slow and not at all inspiring enough to write about a single topic. Then I read Poppy's blog and saw how it's been slow in St. Louis as well and she's had to rely on a bulleted list.

More proof that Poppy and I are identical cousins.
  • I forgot to tell y'all that I finally finished Paula's hydrangea-colored socks. I didn't even take a picture of the finished product. I was so anxious to get them to her that I sent them off and it wasn't until I was walking away from the post office that I realized that I don't have a photo of them. You'll just have to trust me that they're pretty.
  • I started a pair of Jaywalker socks out of some lovely yarn given to me by Ginnie. I wasn't 100% sure that this particular colorway would be suitable for this pattern but as it's turning out, this particular colorway is perfect for this pattern. They're going to be lovely. Just one little problem though. I can't find the other skein of yarn to knit its mate. It's somewhere around here - I just can't lay my hands on it. I'll find it though. It's not like I would have thrown it away or something.
  • Of course I've thrown away dinner knives before - by accident, of course - so I wouldn't bet the farm that I'll find the other skein.
  • Very late this afternoon I laid down for a nap and woke up to the smell of french fries. I know it's from the new Nashville Saloon. They're the closest restaurant to me that sells fries. Great. Why don't they just croon my name? If they sold lipstick and yarn I'd probably ask to move in.
  • Mount Dirty Laundry? Still there. Shiiiiiit!! Why can't I get these clothes washed? Nothing short of threats are going to motivate me to get these clothes washed.
  • I need a pedicure in the worst way but hate doing it myself. Someone want to come over and do it for me? I'll supply snacks. Bring 20 grit sandpaper. You'll need it.
  • And then like a bolt from the blue it came to me. I know I had yarn sparated into plastic sacks. Maybe it got stuck under Mount Dirty Laundry. Nice. Now I know I'll never see it again.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Kindness of Strangers

There's a woman living on the same floor as my MIL's apartment who has made a pest of herself to most of the other neighbors in the building, essentially to the point where people avoid her.

My MIL, however, being as she is always gracious and kind and hospitable, puts up with her and this woman takes full advantage of it. At least once a week and sometimes even more often she'll come over with a request for my MIL. She'll want my MIL to pick her up some groceries. She'll want my MIL to take a bill to be paid at the bank. Once she asked my MIL to go buy her a coffee maker. Oh. And bring some coffee too, please.

The picking up food thing seems to be the most annoying. She always wants things like one banana and one apple from the produce people or three eggs from the egg guy and the worst is going to the butcher. Once the old lady wanted 50 grams of liverwurst. Have any idea how hard it is to successfully slice off 50 grams of liverwurst? It's hard enough that the guy behind my MIL hollered out "Don't slice your thumb off in the process!". It embarrassed my MIL, and to her a good reputation with merchants is important to her. It made her want to announce to everyone "It's not for me! It's for my weird neighbor!".

Now I feel bad for the old woman. She's somewhere in her 80s and doesn't seem to have any friends or family at all - at least none who want to have anything to do with her. She suffers from deep depression and she's also had some lengthy hospital stays in the past year - I'm not sure if it was from a physical ailment or a mental breakdown. The others in the apartment building have been putting up with her for years and have gotten to the point where they stay away from her but so far my MIL hasn't gotten to that point. It's not easy for my MIL though. While she's younger than this neighbor, my MIL is also recovering from knee surgery and she's also got some thing going on where her blood pressure is lower than normal and she becomes exhausted after exerting much less physical activity than she's used to. Still she doesn't tell this old woman no. This neighbor woman really needs to be in an assisted living arrangement or even hire someone to check on her but she either can't or won't spend the money so she continues to take advantage of anyone who will accommodate her requests.

This past Saturday about mid-morning she rang my MIL's door bell asking to ask if my MIL would get some groceries for her.

MIL: Well, okay. I suppose I can go across to the market and get what you need.

Old lady: Well I need some liverwurst and some bread and some cake and some butter and some milk.

MIL: Okay. But right now I'm busy. I'm right in the middle of making potato salad and I'll go when I'm finished.

Old lady: Can you make some potato salad for me too?

MIL: Uhhh...yeah.

Old lady: Do you make it with mayonnaise?

MIL: Yes.

Old lady: I don't like mayonnaise. Can you make mine without mayonnaise?

MIL: Well I suppose so.

Door closes. My MIL bangs her head against the wall.

I sometimes consider what my life will be like when I'm much older and I sometimes get afraid. I get afraid that the story I've told you is going to one day be my story except I'm afraid that I won't be playing the roll my MIL has taken. I'm afraid I'm going to be the annoying neighbor everyone wants to avoid. I'm afraid that perhaps I'll be old and unstable and without friends or family who will look after me. I'm afraid that doing something as simple as getting a few groceries will be beyond my ability and I'll have to depend on strangers deigning to help me out.

But maybe it won't be as bad as I, in my mind, make it out to be. After all, I detest liverwurst and we all know I love mayonnaise.

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